Aveo Edrington Park, a glorious history

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A whaling captain, wealthy race horse owner, big game hunter, soldier, politician and a vice-regal couple have all trod the rolling hills upon which Aveo Edrington now stands. Captain Robert Gardiner left his ships to select land at Western Port which he called Berwick after his Scottish borders birthplace, naming his holdings Melville Park. Gardiner sold to Australia-born James Gibb, who developed a model farm as well as serving as a local councillor, a member of state parliament, and later, a commonwealth parliamentarian. The next owner, Samuel P. Mackay, a wealthy pastoralist and race horse owner, made a lasting mark on the landscape. Not satisfied with the modest brick farm house, he engaged architect Rodney Alsopp to design and build the two story ‘Arts and Crafts’ manor house that serves as the delightful community centre for today’s retirement village. Mackay sold to Andrew S. Chirnside, a member of the pioneer Chirnside family (‘A.S.’ had hunted big game in Africa). He changed the property name to Edrington Park and allocated 600 acres for local soldiers returning from the Great War. Upon the deaths of Mr and Mrs Chirnside, the property was inherited by Mrs Maie Casey and her brother, Colonel Rupert Ryan, a distinguished soldier and politician. Maie and her husband Richard were a remarkable couple – he was a politician, a diplomat, a British peer and later, Australia’s 16th Governor General; Maie an author, an artist and aviator. Lord Casey died in 1976 and Lady Casey in 1983. After several years, Edrington Park was sub-divided, with the manor house and out-buildings transferred to Edrington Park Retirement Village in 1989. The community centre, already on the Victorian Historic Buildings Register, was completely refurbished, winning the Master Builders Association of Victoria’s Restoration of the Year in 1993. The formal gardens with rare trees link the present to the past – the National Trust listed, Cedrus Deodara, enhances the approach to the expansive manor house.

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